Art, Animation & Film Analysis by James Chiang

James Chiang's Weekly Blog for Creative Insight & Inspiration

Latest articles

Favorite Films: Part 12 — why so serious?

These days, both life and art seem far too serious. And worst of all, it’s serious in all the wrong places. In our society, all our attention is on rushed accumulation (money, information, social approval) and not on living attentively and joyfully each day. In the art of movies, both live action and animated, we’re… Continue reading →


foundation (definition of): the lowest load-bearing part of a building, typically below ground level. an underlying basis or principle. As they say, the foundations are everything. The core fundamentals of any craft start with the foundational bedrock of principles and skills that everything else is built upon. Unfortunately, most people, in almost...

Deep-Time Thinking

“We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it is forever.” ― Carl Sagan, Scientist The concept of deep-time thinking borrows heavily from the scientific and historic way of looking at the world and our existence. It goes beyond thinking about the everyday or even the next decade. It’s looking extremely long term… Continue reading →

Student Showcase 1

Some people see things as they are and say why?  I dream things that never were and say, why not? — George Bernard Shaw, Playwright As some of you know, I’ve been teaching/consulting animation artists for over a decade. Many have gone on to solid careers. Starting today, and hopefully on a continual basis, I’ll… Continue reading →

learn by Doing

Any fool can know. The point is to understand. ― Albert Einstein, Scientist There is, ultimately, only one way to learn and that is by doing. We can accumulate as much knowledge or technique as we can, and have them beautifully and clearly explained to us (the job of the teacher), but if we don’t actually… Continue reading →

Look, Listen, Learn

A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. ― David Bohm, Physicist Why are so many people stuck within their own ideologies? Whether it’s an issue related to their craft or beliefs about politics, economics or religion, it seems that humans just can’t seem to keep an open mind.… Continue reading →


In a gentle way, you can shake the universe. — Mahatma Gandhi Without energy we can do nothing, but with enough of it we can change ourselves and thereby change the world. And all good art contains an energy that does that, igniting our passions, our memories and our imaginations. For me, great painters like… Continue reading →

Forward Motion

The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new. — Socrates, Philosopher In animation, forward motion is everything. Both in pose and action the audience must get a sense of life in our characters because living things are always progressing, always advancing forward.… Continue reading →

Going Pro

The amateur tweets, the pro works. — Steven Pressfield If you’ve not read Steven Pressfield’s two excellent books on creating, The War of Art and Turning Pro, I highly suggest you do so. Pressfield captures perfectly what it means to go pro. Whenever I feel like I need a little ‘pick up’ I know he’ll… Continue reading →

Women in Art: Part 2 — film roles

In our continuing series about Women in Art, we’re focusing on the roles women have taken in the art of film. Since time began, women’s roles in movies were almost always secondary — a love interest, the damsel in distress waiting to be rescued or slightly more interesting, the alluring femme fatale. Much like how… Continue reading →

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